Social media chefs demystify cooking for a new generation
If you’ve ever felt an urgent need to make candied potatoes or fold a tortilla clockwise, then you’ve been swayed. It can creep in from anywhere, a conversation overheard on the bus about three-ingredient brownies (I was responsible for this one) or a quick conversation at the start of a Zoom call about that feta pasta. For dinner.
The coronavirus wasn’t the only thing going viral in 2020. There were the dalgona coffee and banana bread recipes, then the frozen honey. Many viral food trends come from TikTok and Instagram. TikTok, once known primarily for its lip-syncing videos and trendy dance routines, has really evolved during blocks.
We were at home most of the time, twiddling our thumbs and thinking about our next meal. We had more time to cook creatively and experiment in the kitchen, trying to recreate our favorite restaurant dishes. Brunch recipes have also taken off, and the perfect hollandaise sauce for those poached eggs has become a frequent topic of research online. A study commissioned by Samsung showed that 71% of 2,000 adults turned to social media instead of traditional cookbooks.
The winning social media formula seems to start with an easy recipe, using accessible and widely available ingredients and simple assembly. The point is that you want to do it when you see how easy and delicious it is, or for fun, then you hit that button like, or better yet, save it.
Although I wrote a feta recipe in a national newspaper in 2013, it took me a 30-second video to go viral last year. The TikTok platform has made it easy to share and distribute, creating a worldwide increase in sales of feta cheese. Being shown how easy this delicious dish is to prepare has been key to its popularity, as well as the visual element of these vibrant, soft cheese giving tomatoes that make it so appetizing.
There are different styles of food video that do well on social media. Neat shots that come close and personal with the ingredients are always a winner. A matrix style slow motion revolves around the sweet topping of a cruffin, now worth watching a few times. You can almost taste the maple syrup as it slowly pours onto hot pancakes or smell the crispy sourdough when it is sliced, the camera right at the edge of the cutting board for maximum impact.
While it might sound easy, creating great food content is hard work.
Our sight is not the only meaning covered here, as some eschew the use of trendy songs in favor of the natural sounds of the food being prepared. With ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) food videos, we hear the paper skin of the peeled onion, the flames licking the steak, the crushed peppercorns. Euphoric videos from food blogger and Belfast content creator Jim Moore, aka Only slag, show close-ups of thinly sliced ââonions, crushed garlic and fried eggs. It’s fast, inspiring and appetizing.
Emilie Mariko, a 29-year-old Californian, created a bowl of salmon rice with seaweed, mayonnaise and sriracha and the way she did it has garnered over 76 million views. His avocado and egg on toast also have nearly 50 million views. These are staggering numbers. Each recipe is extremely simple and comes with the sound of clicking ice cubes, flowing sriracha sauce and mashed salmon. Its food is very accessible, without measures or directives. It’s just Mariko in her kitchen making lunch and sharing her ideas with us.
Storytime is big on TikTok: Melanie in Texas bakes brownies, with her glittery acrylic nails, recounting how her cousin’s best friend’s brother boss cheated on her husband. It’s very difficult to look away. Its southern accent, the gossip, the rich chocolate paste poured into the tray. After 10 seconds, the ganache is swirled and spread with a palette knife as it carefully completes the cautionary tale, taking a big bite out of the oversized brownie at the end. Boom.
While it might sound easy, creating great food content is hard work. So much time and effort goes into planning, researching, testing recipes, and buying food. You need to wear multiple hats and have different skills, unless there is a production team behind you. In addition to having an in-depth knowledge of the subject, food and cooking, you must be able to direct, film, light and assemble each piece yourself. Editing is essential when every second counts.
There is a new generation of cooks who have learned to cook from a 30 second video, and that’s a good thing.
IGTV Instagram videos can be up to an hour long, but viewers decide within three seconds whether or not to continue watching. Instagram reels and catchy short videos on TikTok are also popular. The reels were introduced by Instagram in August 2020 and have become an essential tool for content creators hoping to go viral. Smooth transitions make for successful videos. One minute, the person on camera breaks the eggs, then whips up the sauce and so on. A hectic pace is not pleasant to watch, so smooth transition skills are essential to reassure the viewer that they are in good hands and to enjoy the 30 second trip from pan to plate.
Good technical skills are one of the elements of a successful food social network account, but there are also content creators who are successful based on their personality and screen presence. It is their sympathy that has the viewers supporting them. Based in london Poppy O’Toole is the perfect example. She opened her TikTok account when she was fired from her job as a chef at the start of the pandemic. She is a Michelin trained chef, and she is also bubbly, chatty, relaxed and knowledgeable. In the past year, she has increased her subscribers to 1.9 million, with 28 million likes, and has just published her first book, Poppy Cooks: The Food You Need, with a rave review by Nigella Lawson. .
Nasim Lahbichi is another personality that I like to see on my thread. He has over 400,000 followers on TikTok and 200,000 on Instagram. His friendly and chatty nature makes his recipes shine even more. Born and raised in a Puerto Rican / Moroccan family in Brooklyn, his recipes are a beautiful fusion of those cultures, from tangy harissa tahini mashed potatoes to za’atar crusted maduros.
The body coach, Joe Wicks, is known for his personal training and fitness programs, and his live online videos have exploded his brand over the past year. In his Lean In 15 book series and online videos, he takes recipes down to the most basic steps. Everything is incredibly simple and straightforward. It’s food to keep you slim and nourished and it seems really achievable. His carefree cooking methods and zesty approach are so encouraging to novice home cooks.
Thanks to various different approaches, styles and platforms, there is a new generation of cooks who have learned how to make a grilled cheese wrap on their own from a 30 second video, and that’s a good thing. Demystifying cooking is extremely positive because cooking is an essential skill in life. Hopefully, this culinary content creation boom will lead more people to satisfy their cravings for good food by cooking more at home.